New American Standard Bible
After this I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding back the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth or on the sea or on any tree.
King James Bible
And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree.
Darby Bible Translation
And after this I saw four angels standing upon the four corners of the earth, holding fast the four winds of the earth, that no wind might blow upon the earth, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree.
World English Bible
After this, I saw four angels standing at the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, so that no wind would blow on the earth, or on the sea, or on any tree.
Young's Literal Translation
And after these things I saw four messengers, standing upon the four corners of the land, holding the four winds of the land, that the wind may not blow upon the land, nor upon the sea, nor upon any tree;
Revelation 7:1 Parallel
CommentaryBarnes' Notes on the Bible
And after these things - After the vision of the things referred to in the opening of the sixth seal. The natural interpretation would be, that what is here said of the angels and the winds occurred after those things which are described in the previous chapter. The exact chronology may not be always observed in these symbolical representations, but doubtless there is a general order which is observed.
I saw four angels - He does not describe their forms, but merely mentions their agency. This is, of course, a symbolical representation. We are not to suppose that it would be literally fulfilled, or that, at the time referred to by the vision, four celestial beings would be stationed in the four quarters of the world for the purpose of checking and restraining the winds that blow from the four points of the compass. The meaning is, that events would occur which would be properly represented by four angels standing in the four quarters of the world, and having power over the winds.
Standing on the four corners of the earth - This language is, of course, accommodated to the prevailing mode of speaking of the earth among the Hebrews. It was a common method among them to describe it as a vast plain, having four corners, those corners being the prominent points - north, south, east, and west. So we speak now of the four winds, the four quarters of the world, etc. The Hebrews spoke of the earth, as we do of the rising and setting of the sun and of the motions of the heavenly bodies, according to appearances, and without aiming at philosophical exactness. Compare the notes on Job 26:7. With this view they spoke of the earth as an extended plain, and as having boundaries or corners, as a plain or field naturally has. Perhaps, also, they used this language with some allusion to an edifice, as having four corners; for they speak also of the earth as having foundations. The language which the Hebrews used was in accordance with the prevailing ideas and language of the ancients on the subject.
Holding the four winds of the earth - The winds blow in fact from every quarter, but it is convenient to speak of them as coming from the four principal points of the compass, and this method is adopted probably in every language. So among the Greeks and Latins, the winds were arranged under four classes - Zephyrus, Boreas, Notus, and Eurus - considered as under the control of a king, Aeolus. See Eschenburg, Man. Class. Literally, section 78, compare section 108. The angels here are represented as "holding" the winds - κρατοῦντας kratountas. That is, they held them back when about to sweep over the earth, and to produce far-spread desolation. This is an allusion to a popular belief among the Hebrews, that the agency of the angels was employed everywhere. It is not suggested that the angels had raised the tempest here, but only that they now restrained and controlled it. The essential idea is, that they had plower over those winds, and that they were now exercising that power by keeping them back when they were about to spread desolation over the earth.
That the wind should not blow on the earth - That there should be a calm, as if the winds were held back.
Nor on the sea - Nowhere - neither on sea nor land. The sea and the land constitute the surface of the globe, and the language here, therefore, denotes that there would be a universal calm.
Nor on any tree - To injure it. The language used here is such as would denote a state of profound quiet; as when we say that it is so still that not a leaf of the trees moves.
In regard to the literal meaning of the symbol here employed there can be no great difficulty; as to its application there may be more. The winds are the proper symbols of wars and commotions. Compare Daniel 7:2. In Jeremiah 49:36-37 the symbol is both used and explained: "And upon Elam will I bring the four winds from the four quarters of heaven, and will scatter them toward all those winds; and there shall be no nation whither the outcasts of Elam shall not come. For I will cause Elam to be dismayed before their enemies, and before them that seek their life." So in Jeremiah 51:1-2, a destroying wind is an emblem of destructive war: "I will raise up against Babylon a destroying wind, and will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land." Compare Horace, Odes, b. i. 14. The essential ideas, therefore, in this portion of the symbol, cannot be mistaken. They are two:
(1) that at the period of time here referred to - after the opening of the sixth seal and before the opening of the seventh - there would be a state of things which would be well represented by rising tempests and storms, which if unrestrained would spread desolation afar; and,
(2) that this impending ruin was held back as if by angels having control of those winds; that is, those tempests were not suffered to go forth to spread desolation over the world. A suspended tempest calamity held in check; armies hovering on the borders of a kingdom, but not allowed to proceed for a time; hordes of invaders detained, or stayed in their march, as if by some restraining power not their own, and from causes not within themselves - any of these things would be an obvious fulfilling of the meaning of the symbol.
LibraryThe Bliss of the Glorified
"They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more, neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat."--Revelation 7:16. WE cannot too often turn our thoughts heavenward, for this is one of the great cures for worldliness. The way to liberate our souls from the bonds that tie us to earth is to strengthen the cords that kind us to heaven. You will think less of this poor little globe when you think more of the world to come. This contemplation will also serve to console us for the loss, as we call …
Charles Haddon Spurgeon—Spurgeon's Sermons Volume 62: 1916
Appendix the Daughters of Jerusalem
The Consecration of Joy
The Blessing of God.
And He will lift up a standard for the nations And assemble the banished ones of Israel, And will gather the dispersed of Judah From the four corners of the earth.
'I will bring upon Elam the four winds From the four ends of heaven, And will scatter them to all these winds; And there will be no nation To which the outcasts of Elam will not go.
"And you, son of man, thus says the Lord GOD to the land of Israel, 'An end! The end is coming on the four corners of the land.
Daniel said, "I was looking in my vision by night, and behold, the four winds of heaven were stirring up the great sea.
Then the male goat magnified himself exceedingly. But as soon as he was mighty, the large horn was broken; and in its place there came up four conspicuous horns toward the four winds of heaven.
"But as soon as he has arisen, his kingdom will be broken up and parceled out toward the four points of the compass, though not to his own descendants, nor according to his authority which he wielded, for his sovereignty will be uprooted and given to others besides them.
The angel replied to me, "These are the four spirits of heaven, going forth after standing before the Lord of all the earth,
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